Many of these students will become our next entrepreneurs, inventors, and business leaders.

Utah prides itself on being a hotbed for tech, startups, and entrepreneurship. What helps strengthen growth in these areas — and really set Utah up for sustained success — is promoting them to the state’s youth, getting kids interested in tech or encouraging entrepreneurship at a young age.

Part of this blending of youth and entrepreneurship comes in the form of the first-ever High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge, where $22,000 in cash and scholarships were handed out last Saturday at the University of Utah. The event, managed by students from the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and sponsored by Zions Bank, showcased the top-16 teams (narrowed from a field of 68) of high school entrepreneurs and provided a window into the next generation of Utah’s business elite.

“We’re very excited to bring this competition to Utah,” said Mark Rasmussen, student chair of the High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. “We were very impressed with the incredible ideas presented by the teams. Many of these students will become our next entrepreneurs, inventors, and business leaders.”

Two teams were awarded $5,000 each for winning the grand prize: EcoGo, creating an app designed to reduce the amount of vehicles on Utah’s roads (please let this happen soon); and Electro-Surgical Pouch, a surgical tool to dissect the gallbladder off the liver bed while simultaneously removing it from the abdomen, which is wild because I forgot the gallbladder existed but that’s what our high school students are now thinking about day and night. Kids these days….

Here is the complete list of winners and participants, descriptions provided courtesy of the Lassonde Institute.

WINNERS

Grand Prize (1 of 2), $5,000 (Zions Bank) — Electro-Surgical Pouch.

Grand Prize (1 of 2), $5,000 (Zions Bank) — EcoGo.

People’s Choice Award, $1,000 (Zions Bank) — Breathe Easy.

Lassonde Studios Scholarships, $1,000 each (Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute) — Breathe Easy (2), EcoGo (1), Energy-Generating Stationary Bike (2), Microcade Systems (2), Motor Design (1), Service with a Click! (1), Teen Made (1).

Finalist Award, $100 each (Zions Bank) — All teams won.

Intellectual Property Protection Package (Snell & Wilmer) — Energy-Generating Stationary Bike.

Zions Elite Entrepreneur Package (Zions Bank) — All teams won.

PARTICIPANTS

BackPal (Layton) — A backpack insert that helps students keep their backpacks organized to hold more books and more easily find their school supplies.

Breathe Easy (Academy of Math, Engineering and Science, Salt Lake City) — Will provide masks that are stylish and crafted to filter air pollution.

EcoGo (Salt Lake City) — An app with a simple goal: reduce the number of personal vehicles on Utah roads.

Electro-Surgical Pouch (Jordan Academy for Tech. and Careers & Bingham High School, South Jordan) — An innovative surgical instrument for use in a laparoscopic cholecystectomy to both dissect the gallbladder off the liver bed and remove the gallbladder from the abdomen.

Energy-Generating Stationary Bike (West Jordan) — By adding generators to stationary bikes consumers will be able to generate electricity while exercising.

iCityCenter (Karl G. Maeser Preparatory Academy, Lindon) — An app that will help reduce recycling costs and help inform consumers how they can recycle.

Life Band (Hillcrest High School, Midvale) — A sensor-equipped exercise headband allowing users to track their movement with GPS, listen to music, and even track for concussions and alert emergency services if necessary.

LIT Signs (Venture High School, Marriott-Slaterville) — Portable, programmable, event traffic signs that can provide specific communication to direct movement flow and give instructions.

Microcade Systems (Park City High School) — A full plug-and-play arcade system supporting multiple consoles and small enough to fit anywhere unlike a full-sized arcade cabinet.

Modular Magnetic Cables (Judge Memorial Catholic High School, Salt Lake City) — Eliminate cable waste and minimize the volume of cables you own by using magnetic cables with interchangeable “bits.” Cables would come in many different sizes and be chainable so you can have cables in the size you actually need.

Motor Design (Itineris Early College High School, West Jordan) — An innovative new design for an electric motor designed to reduce friction and increase efficiency of electric motors.

Invasive Mussel Management System (Park City High School) — A system to scan a unique code on each boat at a boat check to see where boats have been and to clarify whether or not a boat must be cleaned.

PhoneCheck (Orem) — Will offer full mobile checkout. By scanning items and paying via the app, there will be no need to go to a cash register.

Service in a Click! (Bingham High School, South Jordan) — Will help students find volunteering opportunities through an easy app interface and website aimed to reduce the amount of time searching for volunteering opportunities.

Strut Clothing Referral (Canyon View High School, Cedar City) — Will match women to stores in their area and online that carry clothing that will complement their body shape.

Teen Made (St. George) — Aims to be the hub for teens to get their start in the business world and the place for the world to invest in teens — from shops to project, from teen-to-teen course to live Q&As.

Published 5/16/2016